Michelle Book (File photo)

With food costs and inflation remaining sky high, donations to one of the state’s largest food pantries are falling as restaurants and corporate clients cut back — at the same time food demand is peaking.

Michelle Book, CEO of the Des Moines-based Food Bank of Iowa, says they set yet another record in July, the third record in three months. “We served 136,000 individuals and 50,000 households across our 55-county region and that is a record breaker,” Book says. “Food Bank of Iowa is just now recognizing our 40th year of service and this is the biggest month that Food Bank of Iowa has experienced in 40 years.”

That follows two other record-setting months this year, including in June when the food bank reached 135,300 people. Book says there’s a dire need for meat and other protein products. “Our protein inventory includes canned meat, eggs and peanut butter and we’re working to get more meat in the door by working with local processors and producers,” Book says, “spending our budget, our tight meat budget on meat that is raised here in Iowa.”

Book says there are pockets of poverty all over the state, while it may be the worst in the Iowa’s southeast corner. “It’s amazing to me where there is a county that has good employment opportunities, good factory opportunities, the poverty rate seems to be lower, more people are working,” she says, “but there are many counties where there’s not good employment opportunity and that seems to be where we see the greatest need.”

The latest surveys show roughly 300,000 Iowans are food insecure. To make a monetary donation, visit foodbankiowa.org.

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)